In order to explain what caused Davis Cripe's sudden death, medical experts examined his final days and hours leading up to the teen's tragic collapse. The otherwise healthy 16-year-old from South Carolina suffered a deadly heart arrhythmia and his parents are hoping that no other family has to suffer from this preventable death.
Richland Country coroner, Gary Watts, said that Davis had a large Mountain Dew, a café latte from McDonald's, and an energy drink in the two hours leading up to his death. "It was so much caffeine at the time of his death that it caused his arrhythmia," Watts explained during a press conference. "These drinks can be very dangerous. I'm telling my friends and family don't drink them."
This isn't the first time that the dangers of energy drinks are coming to light. Last month, researchers shared that these popular drinks can cause harmful changes in blood pressure and heart function. Davis' dad, Sean Cripe wants parents to not only hear this message but also understand it, especially for their tweens and teens who can independently grab these beverages.
"Like all parents, we worry about our kids as they grow up. We worry about their safety, their health, especially once they start driving. But it wasn't a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink," Sean said. "Parents, please talk to your kids about these energy drinks."
According to the Food and Drug Administration 400 mg of caffeine (which is about five cups of coffee) is generally considered safe, however parents are not always aware how much their kids are consuming when it isn't in the form of hot cups of coffee. "The purpose here today is not to slam Mountain Dew, not to slam cafe lattes, or energy drinks. But what we want to do is to make people understand that these drinks — this amount of caffeine, how it's ingested, can have dire consequences. And that's what happened in this case," Watts said.